Areley Kings, Worcestershire
Areley Kings, a parish in Worcestershire, on the river Severn, ½ a mile SW of Stourport. It contains the hamlet of Dnnley. Post town, Stourport. Acreage, 1503; population, 731. An eminence on which the church is situated commands an extensive prospect. Areley Hall, Areley House, and Areley Court are chief residences; the two former belong to the Lloyd family, who are lords of the manor. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Worcester; net value, £325. Patron, the Rector of Martley. The church is of the Decorated period, with a Norman doorway; it was rebuilt in 1886, at a cost of £3000. A rude sepulchral monument, inscribed with a quaint rhyming distich, to the memory of Sir Harry Coningsby, who died at Areley Kings in 1703, forms part of the churchyard fence. Layamon, author of the " Brut," an ancient British chronicle in verse, was priest here at the end of the 12th century. The base of an ancient font, inscribed witli his name, was found during the church's restoration, and is now in use.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||King's Areley St. Bartholomew|
|Poor Law union||Martley|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish registers date from the year 1539.
Church of England
St. Bartholomew (parish church)
The church of St. Bartholomew is a building of stone in the Decorated style, but has a Norman doorway in the east wall of the vestry:- it consists of chancel, nave, north aisle, with vestry and organ chamber, and a tower on the south side with pinnacles and containing 6 bells; the church, with the exception of the chancel and tower, was rebuilt in 1885-6, at a cost of £ 3,000, raised by subscription, under the direction of Mr. P. Preedy, architect, of London; the stone used in the work, and obtained from an Astley quarry, was presented by John Russell Cookes esq, D.L., J.P.: the pulpit, a memorial to the Rev. Henry James Hastings, some time rector, is constructed from old oak, formerly in the roof, and was the gift of his daughter, Miss A. C. Hastings: the organ was presented by Edward Alfred Broome esq. F.R.G.S., D.L., J.P. of Areley Court: the design on the altar cloth is reproduced from an old Elizabethan pattern of Tudor roses and leaves, discovered on the rood beam: there is a memorial in the chancel to W. Walsh esq. a connection of William Walsh, the poet, and friend of Dryden, who lived at Abberley, and died in 1708: in the churchyard is a very curious monument to Sir Henry Coningsby knt. (ancestor of Thomas, Earl of Coningsby, and of the Capells, Earls of Essex). This quaint memorial is supposed to have been written by the knight himself, who lived a recluse life at a house in the parish called "The Sturt:" a piscina and aumbry and remains of the rood staircase were discovered in course of the restoration of the church: beneath the Norman doorhead in the north wall of the nave was found walled up on either side the original oak door greatly decayed, but the large C-shaped hinges were tolerably perfect: a massive wooden bolt 2ft. 4in. long was still in its natural position: fragments of a Norman font were also found, with traces of letters on its base which, after removal of paint and whitewash, were found to be "TEMPORE :LA[Y] AMANNI : SANTI :" these fragments have been restored and now form the base of the font in use in the church: it is on record that the poet Layamon was priest of Earnley by Severn, c. 1200, and it is assumed that Earnley was the old name of Areley Kings: there is a mural tablet to Layamon's memory in the chancel, but it is held that the above discovery places the poet's connection with Areley Kings beyond doubt: there are also memorials to the Zachary family, 1802: a carved oak vestry screen was erected in 1898 by Arthur J. Wright esq. as a memorial to his mother; there are sittings for 370 persons, 280 being free.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Areley Kings from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Areley, King's, or Lower Areley (St. Bartholomew))
Land and Property
The full transcript of the Worcestershire section of the Return of Owners of Land, 1873.
Online maps of Areley Kings are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Worcestershire papers online:
The Visitation of Worcestershire 1569 is available on the Heraldry page.